The increasing frequency of zoonotic disease events underscores a need to develop forecasting tools toward a more preemptive approach to outbreak investigation. We apply machine learning to data describing the traits and zoonotic pathogen diversity of the most speciose group of mammals, the rodents, which also comprise a disproportionate number of zoonotic disease reservoirs.

The researchers analyzed eight H10N8 viruses isolated from ducks and chickens in live poultry markets from 2009 to 2013 in China. These viruses showed distinct genetic diversity and formed five genotypes: the four duck isolates formed four different genotypes, whereas the four chicken viruses belong to a single genotype. The viruses bound to both human- and avian-type receptors, and four of the viruses caused 12.7% to 22.5% body weight loss in mice.

Bushmeat hunting threatens biodiversity and increases the risk of zoonotic pathogen transmission. Nevertheless, limited information exists on patterns of contact with wildlife in communities that practice bushmeat hunting, especially with respect to social drivers of hunting behavior.

The second plague pandemic in medieval Europe started with the Black Death epidemic of 1347–1353 and killed millions of people over a time span of four centuries. It is commonly thought that after its initial introduction from Asia, the disease persisted in Europe in rodent reservoirs until it eventually disappeared. Here, we show that climate-driven outbreaks of Yersinia pestis in Asian rodent plague reservoirs are significantly associated with new waves of plague arriving into Europe through its maritime trade network with Asia.

The laboratory mouse shares the majority of its protein-coding genes with humans, making it the premier model organism in biomedical research, yet the two mammals differ in significant ways. To gain greater insights into both shared and species-specific transcriptional and cellular regulatory programs in the mouse, the Mouse ENCODE Consortium has mapped transcription, DNase I hypersensitivity, transcription factor binding, chromatin modifications and replication domains throughout the mouse genome in diverse cell and tissue types.

Understanding the effects of biodiversity loss on zoonotic disease is of pressing importance to both conservation science and public health. This paper provides experimental evidence of increased landscape-level disease risk following declines in large wildlife, using the case study of the rodent-borne zoonosis, bartonellosis, in East Africa. This pattern is driven not by changes in community composition or diversity of hosts, as frequently proposed in other systems, but by increases in abundance of susceptible hosts following large mammal declines.

Seven years ago, when the Arunachal Pradesh government introduced cultivation of large cardamom in Lower Subansiri and other adjoining districts as an alternative to jhum or slash-and-burn cultivat

The storm of scientific criticism over claims that a genetically modified (GM) maize causes severe disease in rats shows no signs of abating. Gilles-Eric Séralini, a molecular biologist at the University of Caen, France, is under intense pressure to report the full data behind his team’s finding that rats fed for two years with Monsanto’s glyphosate-resistant NK603 maize (corn) developed many more tumours and died earlier than controls (see Nature 489, 484; 2012).

Europe has never been particularly fond of genetically modified (GM) foods, but a startling research paper looks set to harden public and political opposition even further, despite a torrent of scepticism from scientists about the work. The study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Food and Chemical Toxicology, looked for adverse health effects in rats fed NK603 maize (corn), developed by biotech company Monsanto to resist the herbicide glyphosate and approved for animal and human consumption
in the European Union, United States and other countries.

The health effects of a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize (from 11% in the diet), cultivated with or without Roundup, and Roundup alone (from 0.1 ppb in water), were studied 2 years in rats. In females, all treated groups died 2–3 times more than controls, and more rapidly. This difference was visible in 3 male groups fed GMOs. All results were hormone and sex dependent, and the pathological profiles were comparable.